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Innovative Padding Design for Side Impact Protection
Published May 23, 1994 by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in United States
In October 1990, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final rule requiring dynamic side impact protection in passenger cars effective September 1993 (MY 1994). The rule requires chest and pelvis protection in these vehicles in side crashes. Automobile manufacturers have redesigned some of their vehicles to meet the new requirements by making structural modifications and by introducing energy absorbing padding in the doors.
The padding which is customarily being used in vehicles is rectangular pieces of plastic foams. This paper discusses simple modifications of such padding materials to make them more effective for cushioning the chest and pelvis in side crashes of vehicles. Further, a concept of a hydraulic bubble pad is analyzed in this paper. Parametric analyses of various padding characteristics and their effects on thoracic and pelvic injury potential are included. Corroboration of the findings given in this paper is suggested through bench testing and vehicle testing of suitable bubble pad designs.